tv Road to the White House CSPAN June 29, 2014 10:00pm-11:01pm EDT
congress is the story a congressional gold medal on a truly historic figure. every one of us in this room will always be able to boast that we were there when congress honored this iconic figure and friend of america. shimon peres planted the seeds in the jewish state of israel and helped that garden grow. whether literally in the blooming of the desert, or more significantly, and the blossoming of the society and a people. a soldier who became a peacemaker, an immigrant who became an institution, a public servant to became a statesman, a champion of nonviolence and messenger of hope, an idealist who understood pragmatism, and founder of a nation who became and remained a visionary for his and all people. shimon peres' story is the story of modern israel.
a saga of dynamism and wisdom. he once said that what conceives as an idea, regaining a new world by drawing the values of the past and innovations of the future. few could claim to have done so much for the success of that idea. even at the age of 90, this farmer, fighter, prize winner, prime minister, and president continues to guide his nation into tomorrow. i remember when, at the white house, we celebrated his 90th birthday last year. he spent his speech talking about innovation technology of the future. his dream has long been and will forever be the dream of the nation of free to live in the peace and security of the
homeland of the jewish people. he dreams of a dawn where every man and woman can wake up free to be free. and as he would remind us, if you will it, it is not a dream. may god bless his dream to serve the state of israel and the path to peace. may his spirit and the spirit of the entire generation of israel live on in our actions today and in the future. may israel long be recognized as the greatest political achievement of the 20th century. and a beacon of hope, democracy, and justice into the 21st century and beyond. may this gold medal always serve as a stirring symbol of our deep respect or shimon peres and admiration for israel's people
and an breakable friendship between our country and the nation of israel. as our speaker said, in the congressional gold medal is our founding father, george washington. today, we bestow it upon another founding father. both of them, in excepting the reward, bring luster to the award. thank you very much for receiving this honor. your accepting it as an honor to the congress. shalom and thank you. [applause]
>> ladies and gentlemen, the majority leader of the united states house of representatives, the honorable eric cantor. >> thank you. [applause] thank you. good morning. mr. vice president, mr. speaker, president peres, my colleagues, and other distinguished guests -- it is a true honor for me to be here today to pay tribute to one of the world's greatest statesmen. president peres, you are always a man who has stood for the advancement of humankind. you have been an inspiration to so many of us, young and old, in your tireless advocacy for democracy. in your belief that it is that which is the best path to peace and security for all. few people, president peres,
have dedicated their lives to the security of the state of israel and the continuity of the jewish people the way that you have. so many of us have been touched by president peres. on the many trips i have made to israel, along with my colleague, kevin mccarthy -- just over one year ago, we were there and you welcomed us with open arms. delegation after delegation. so many of us found inspiration in your words. so many of us tried to learn how it was that you talked about the importance of the u.s.-israel partnership. what it means to be tied together by mutual bonds and beliefs. you have said and continue to say that what makes us in
america so unique is that we are a country that gives. we do not take. in fact, if you think about it, our country maintains its security for its citizens. because we give of treasure and, yes, we give up blood. to go in search of helping others. those who cannot help themselves. that resounds to our benefit here at home. that is what makes america, at its core, a leader of the world. that is why it is so important that we maintain this strong partnership between our two countries. mr. president, you are worthy of this honor. one of the highest honors that america can confer. in the jewish religion, we pray
daily for the restoration of justice. we ask god for his guidance. his inspiration to our leaders, that they may conduct themselves toward that end of the restoration of days of old. and allow us to continue on our mission of repairing the world. president peres, you are one of those warriors. you are that leader. congratulations to you today. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, the republican leader of the united states senate, the honorable mitch mcconnell. [applause]
>> for thousands of years, the jewish people searched for a home. for almost 70 years, they have defended one. the world has marveled at the achievement of this once nomadic people. subjected so often throughout their history to the worst of human nature. a people who raised a nation out of the sands. with every odd stacked against them. it is an incredible tale. since the birth of modern israel, one man has been there every step of the way. standing at the very center of this remarkable draw. shimon peres.
president of israel -- the man we honor today. he was there in prewar europe. he was there during the migration to israel. he was there for the war of independence. he has held a virtually every major government post over the span of his nearly 70 year long political career. he has served under others. he dined with degaulle. he sparred with nassar. his tenure spans momentous event in lebanon and camp david. and the olympics in munich.
he has both seen and stood at the center of so much. from israel's earliest years as a dream in the desert to its transformation to the modern, flourishing, diverse democracy of today. he has been there. a figure of reconciliation, and of strength. with his neighbors, he has sought peace. and made extraordinary, nobel winning efforts, to advance it. his historic speech to the german people in 2010 and moved and inspired many of us. we know that president peres put aside long-standing mistrust in order to join hands with those interested in peace. the kind of piece that seemed impossible at the time.
and that remains elusive today. but he has not given up. and that is not surprising, given that this man, who once said that for him, dreaming is simply being pragmatic -- is his remarkable approach to life and work that has sustained him for decades in the political spotlight. in just a few weeks, president peres will leave the presidency behind. he will close the book on one storied political career. and he will hand the reins to his successor. but what a story it has been. what a story it is. today, we honor shimon peres, president of the state of israel, for his numerous contributions to public life.
we thank him for being such a great friend of the united states over the years. for strengthening the unbreakable union between our two democracies. and we look forward to the next chapter in his extraordinary life. maybe is remarkable as those that preceeded it. thank you. [applause] >> the majority leader of the united states senate, the honorable harry reid. [applause] >> today, we are gathered to honor a man who has dedicated his entire life to making the world a better place.
i see in the audience senator dick durbin. he was with the group that i led to the middle east. i told senator durbin and others at that time that they would have an opportunity to meet a man that i have such deep respect and admiration for. no one has been more inspirational to me than the man that we honor today. dick and i still talk about that meeting that we had with shimon peres, and the visionary view he had of the world. but is it any wonder i think so highly of this man? seven decades of public service, should be an inspiration to us all, and it is. we have heard these -- his tenure of service. 50 years.
prime minister twice and acting prime minister twice. minister of foreign affairs. on 3 separate occasions. minister of defense twice. minister of finance. minister of transportation. and eight other posts. and of course, president of the state of israel. this is a man who never grows old. when he came into his first time of being prime minister, a lot of us, when the internet came -- that was for someone else to deal with. not this man. he wanted to know about the internet and he proceeded to teach himself and have others teach him about the internet. he was the first prime minister to go onto the internet and have the position as part of it.
he has been educated in the united states on occasion. the new school -- new york university, harvard. he speaks hebrew, yiddish, polish, russian, english, french -- he has authored 11 books. we have heard that he has been honored with the most prestigious awards that can be given to him worldwide, the nobel peace prize. the presidential medal of freedom. french legion of honor. today, the congressional gold medal. you can understand why i was so eager to take the other senators with me to meet this good man, this incredible man. my admiration for president peres stems more from just his positions and the compliments. winston churchill said that all of the great things are simple
and can be expressed in a single word. well, i believe that. the greatness of shimon peres can be expressed in a single word, optimism. he said -- this man seated behind me, "optimists and pessimists die the same way, they just live differently. i prefer to live as an optimist." [applause] optimism has been his life. it is that optimism that hasn't -- has inspired so many of us from the world. it has guided him in everything he has done. the challenges that he and his family faced in the holocaust to his work for lasting peace and a secure israel. it is his hope for the world and believe in peace that i so
admire. president peres has said, there are two approaches to leadership. one is built on force. the other built on good will. good will is winning. reliance on force is losing. through good will, you can achieve more. isn't that true? thank you. [applause] he has achieved so very much. not only for himself, not only for the state of israel. not only for the middle east, but for the world. through his optimism and goodwill, he always placed peace within our grasp. i congratulate this good man. a statesman, a leader of the free world, for everything he has acomplished throughout his life.
president peres, israel, the middle east, and the world are all better for your optimism and decency. it is an honor for me to participate in the ceremony today. as the united states congress bestows upon you its highest honor, the congressional gold medal. we honor you today, the father of your country. at least one of the fathers of your country. in so many different ways, we congratulate you for being the man that you are. this medal epitomizes all you have meant to congress and people around the world. you have worked tirelessly to make the world a better place for all of god's children. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, the speaker of the united states house of representatives, the honorable john boehner. [applause]
>> ladies and gentlemen, the vice president of the united states, the honorable joseph r. biden, jr. [applause] >> mr. president, congratulations. with your permission, i will forgo the barbra streisand serenade. [laughter] what i have to say is equally as much from the heart as her most melodic tunes. i heard a story. one israeli was speaking to another recently. the first one said, do you know
shimon peres has only three or four weeks left to go in his presidency? the response was, yes, but they are peres weeks. [laughter] those weeks have gone on for a long time. you are absolutely relentless. you have been minister, prime minister, you have occupied every office there is to occupy. around the world, i have been to so many conferences and other parts of the world with president peres, you're a force of nature, mr. president. every once in a while, people produce someone who is beyond their office. a force of nature. i have watched you in switzerland, in germany, and england. i have watched you in the middle east.
in so many places where i have been present while you have spoken. there is never a place i have been -- i have known you since i was 30 years old. there has never been a place i have been where this man stands up -- everybody listens. no matter what the atmosphere before he approached the podium. you are a national treasure to israel. i would also respectfully suggest that you have been a national treasure to the united states of america. you are a legendary friend. [applause] mr. president, i know you've heard all of this a thousand times and it is hard to say it with the emotion we all feel. i try to picture, many times, when i have been with you --
being at the feet of david, when you are essentially a kid at the time. his youngest protége. you served continuously, since 1948. absolutely remarkable. i have watched you have expressed your affection for everyone who has ever touched you or your family. i have watched how you have even praised greek monks who helped to save your father. i am told that you -- you can probably sing in greek songs too. it is just remarkable to me how your image and the way you live your life seems in private and public. although i do not know it in private, it has been totally consistent.
you spent half of your career, the first half, cementing the physical security of the state of israel. as you said, as a great concept. you almost single-handedly willed into existence a strong, proud israel defense establishment that we work with so closely today. and ever since then, mr. president, you have been every bit as indefatigable in your search for peace. it is sort of the yin and yang of shimon peres. he has always done what had to be done for his country at the time and had to be done. he has always known what had to be done. and almost every instance i am aware of -- he has almost always been handed a curve. that was what was needed for his people.
israel as a jewish state, a homeland for jewish people, a two state solution where two people live side-by-side. palestinians enjoy self-determination and mutual recognition of peace. when you think about israel today, at least i do -- i have been traveling to israel since 1972. i was raised at a table by what -- shimon peres may not remember. my father got to meet him. what you call a righteous christian. we had conversations, incidentally, eight. my father was one of those people, after the war, he could not understand why there was disagreement about establishing the state of israel. why was this the case?
why was there any problem? in hindsight, today, i think most of us look at my children are grown men and women -- they look back and say, this was all inevitable. there was an inevitability about israel becoming a nationstate. a strong, proud, successful come economically vibrant nationstate. you do not have to look back and see that this is anything but inevitable. in fact, it was the opposite of inevitable. literally, all of the odds were against israel. thankfully, israel was blessed with a founding generation that understood what it took to overcome those odds. thankfully, mr. president, israel was blessed with you. my mother had an expression for
my siblings and i. we heard it repeated how many times? she would always say, you're defined by your courage. and you are redeemed by your loyalty. you are defined by your courage and you are redeemed by your loyalty. you are the definition of what my mother was talking about, mr. president. you have had a great courage and your loyalty has been unbending. not only to all of your people, but to our people as well. as my friends in the senate and house know -- excuse me for a point of personal privilege. as i said, i have known you for a long time. and there is a -- forgive me for quoting an irish proverb. there is an old irish proverb that says, a good friend is like
a four leaf clover. hard to find, but lucky to have. mr. president, you have been my friend. you have counseled me when i have asked to for counsel. you have been -- you have done for me what you have done for so many people here. you've literally given us the benefit of your wisdom. i conclude, mr. president, by saying -- i think that the one distinguishing feature of you as a leader -- because i have hung around this place so long, i think i've met the vast majority of world leaders, personally, over the last 40 years. i have never met a person -- i mean this sincerely. i have never met a person with greater eloquence nor possessed of more wisdom than you.
if there's anything this world needs badly now, it is women and men with wisdom. mr. president, thank you for what you have done for your country. thank you for what you have done for our country. and thank you for your friendship. mr. president, may god bless israel and may all of her children be brought home. and may god bless america and may god protect our troops. congratulations. [applause] i forgot my job. ladies and gentlemen, the president of the state of israel, shimon peres, and recipient of the gold medal of honor.
rotunda, in this great pantheon of democracy. the congress of the united states. here, you give expression -- to unbroken spirits of the american people. it was expressed, 237 years ago, when you signed a document that still echoes all the time. life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness -- those words resonate with as much meaning today as they did when america's first patriots wrote them. they have inspired generations
of americans to dream of a better america. they have inspired people all over the globe to dream of a better world. many people call me a dreamer. i suppose. that is why i have always felt that home in the united states of america. [applause] america was given the privilege to carry the dreams of humanity. my own dream was to be a shepherd. it came true, you know? [laughter] i watched the sheep, not to lose one.
at night, i watch the sows, in order, not to miss one. the dreams of a young sheperd were interrupted by david, israel's george washington, who called me to serve when i was 24 years old. he entrusted me with heavy responsibilities. he made me general of the israeli minister of defense. he charged me with securing our young nation's ability to defend itself. i worked hard. i had little time to study. i did not know a single word of english. after a war of independence, they suggested i go to the united states to learn english,
study the american dreams. he told me that is what i have to do. so i did. i learned that america is not a land for the idle. america is the home for the daring. the american dream is about hard work. pioneering spirit, can-do attitutde. the great bodies that steer under the marble dome, the senate and the house of representatives, offered tiny israel, struggling for life, and unbelievable and unbreakable friendship. you helped israel out of her loneliness. you helped israel overcome tough surroundings. you helped us maintain a
resilient democracy, to become strong enough to take risks for peace. whether through military assistance or security cooperation, or through diplomatic and moral support. you sent us a clear message. we are not alone. on behalf of all of the people of israel, i want to thank you. my friend -- and israel's friend, president barack obama, for standing by our side with unshakable commitment to israel's security. [applause] i want to thank each and every
one of you. the american congress -- for your unwavering, bipartisan, and generous support to my people. [applause] thank you for helping us whether so many storms. and for giving us confidence to face the future. friends, ladies and gentlemen, the challenges we face are considerable. together, we must fight terrorism and advance peace. prevent iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capacity. like president obama, israel hopes that the issue of iran will be resolved peacefully. and like president obama, we
believe that iran should be judged by actions, not by words. in the middle east, the previous empire built -- at the same time, the rules governing the world are being rewritten. security and prosperity are no longer mainly national issues. national economies are dependent on a global economy. national security is increasingly dependent on fighting global terrorism. amid the chaos in the middle east, it is easy to sink into despair. but i have seen too much in my life to lose hope.
i have seen israel defy the odds time and again. i have seen israel defeat superior enemies on the battlefield and send the soldiers to rescue hostages, thousands of miles away from home. israel has shown it can defend itself against those who sought to destroy us. israel did and will do everything in our power to bring home our three kidnapped boys. [applause] i met with their parents. with their mothers.
and they asked me -- to speak here before you on their behalf. to ask you, to make your voice heard all around the world. to help bring them, their boys, our boys home. let's raise our voice together against terrorism, wherever it is. [applause] dear friends, i have seen the genius of israel, make our land bloom. and turn israel into a global center of technology. i learned that high tech can quench the world's thirst for
water, and heal the planet. increase yields without increasing land. i know that even at the darkest hour, it cannot prevent a new dawn and the next day. it will arrive. my friends, today and together, we must tackle two monumental challenges we face. terrorism and poverty. terror knows no borders and obeys no rules. it kills hundreds of thousands and it turns millions into
refugees. we see it in iran and iraq, in syria and lebanon, in sudan and gaza, and elsewhere. by sanctioning their suppliers, by preventing the -- we know that terrorists are global. there, they should be fought globally. we must fight not only the act of terror, but the roots of terrorism. not just by military means, but by drying their financial supplies. by leaving a net that can catch terrorists and protect the
innocent people. religions can play a meaningful role in destroying and restoring terrorism and restoring tolerance and hope. religion can never permit terrorists to hijack faith and perpetrate violence in the name of heaven. we need voices, small, like pope francis. we need rabbis, priests, and imams to preach respect for god in heaven and life on earth. [applause] ladies and gentlemen, it is our duty to offer the young
generation a vision more compelling, more promising, for the future. the population will fight for the last 50 years -- the economy did not. and the era of science replaced the era of land. we experience it almost daily. israel has very little land, even less water, no oil. we became a high-tech nation through hard work. the turmoil of today can provide a new hope for tomorrow. my dream today is that the middle east will become a startup region, as israel became a startup nation.
[applause] to make that happen, leaders in the region must do their share to open their societies. without freethinking, there is no new thinking. without openness, there are nodiscoveries. global companies should help the region become up to date and prepared for tomorrow. two-thirds of the middle east population is under the age of 25. for some, this is a cause of concern. for me, it is a source of hope. for business, it is a great opportunity to invest, both
economically and socially. global companies are aware that young people want a different future. they want to free expression, but also self expression. they want equal rights, including equal rights to be different. our two countries, america and israel, have a unique contribution. we are not the same size. but we share the same values and the same dreams. our dreams keep us young. our values keep us true. what israel already learned from experience, we want to share with our neighbors. in my decades of having the privilege of serving my country,
i saw her become a thriving democracy. a diverse society. a living defense force. a cutting-edge scientific community. it was done with you. and nobody else could be more helpful than you. together, we can put the region on a more promising course. through initiatives in health, education, agriculture, water, and science. i hope to dedicate myself to this work in the years ahead. as for america, it remains indispensible. america is the greatest power in the world today. and the only great power in
history that never tried to become an empire. [applause] you, my dear friends, the president of your nation, you became great not by taking -- you became great by giving. god bless you. [applause] america -- [applause] america is the force for progress, a force for peace. the world is fortunate that america continues to lead it. 60 years ago, america looked to
the moon to discover a distant land. today, the united states is leading a major scientific effort to reveal the secrets of the mind. we are partners in that effort. may i say that, in my judgment, there may be more to discover in the brain than in the moon. [applause] ladies and gentlemen, america and israel should continue to work together to advance peace. wars can be waged alone. peace calls for a collective effort. israel went through seven wars and obtained two peace agreements with egypt, the
largest arab country, and with jordan, our largest shared border. i hope that we will have new peace talks with the palestinians soon. [applause] israel does not intend to rule over other people. it stands against our values and heritage. we sincerely want peace. [applause] israel is committed to bettering the world and making peace with all of our neighbors. president abaz is clearly a partner for peace. [applause]
there were people who thought otherwise. i feel that they are now closer to my judgment than their own. he spoke bravely, in saudi arabia, in arabic, against the kidnapping, against terror, and for peace. but you cannot put fire and water in the same glass. he is a friend. hamas is clearly not a partner for peace. hamas fires rockets at our civilians. they oppose peace. they support terror. finding your way to peace is hard. we must not lose hope. there is no better solution than the two states.
a jewish state, israel, an arab state, palestine. [applause] peace between israel and palestine can forge a broader regional peace. a peace should be built to enable the peace initiative. my friends, i have lived long enough to see impossible becoming possible. to skeptics, i can say, believe me -- peace is the most possible impossibility. in one month, i will be leaving my term as the ninth president of israel.
but i never gave up on the struggle to achieve peace. i am young enough to do so. [applause] ladies and gentlemen, i leave you today with one piece of advice. it is the advice of a boy who dreamed. who never imagined where life would take him. if you will it, it is not a dream. he was right. looking back on the life of israel, our dreams ought not to be too big. our dreams were too small. because israel achieved more
than they could have ever imagined. so, i ask only one thing from you. the great united states of america -- this mighty nation of givers and dreamers -- do not dream small. you are great. dream big. and make the world better. [applause] and your work will turn those dreams into a reality. for you and for all of humanity, god bless you.
and god bless the united states of america. and god bless the unbelievable friendship, historic, meaningful operation between your great country and our small nation. thank you, from the depths of my heart. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, please remain standing as the chaplain of the united states senate, barry black, gives the
benediction. >> let us pray. lord of all, we praise and honor you for using president shimon peres as an instrument of your peace. continue to bless this leader and patriot, who believes that security can be found through shalom. may his exemplary life of courage, optimism, patience, steadiness, and perseverance inspire us to maximize our possibilities for doing good in your world.
bless and keep us. make your face shine upon us and be gracious to us. lift the light of your countenance upon us and give us your shalom. amen. >> please be seated. ladies and gentlemen, please remain seated for the departure of the official party and until your row is invited to depart by a visitor services representative. thank you. [applause] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014]
>> next, "q&a" with daniel schulman, then british prime minister david cameron takes questions from the house of commons. after that, another chance to see the congressional gold medal ceremony for israel the president shimon peres. >> you had broadcasting and then cable came along, and then satellite. what if satellite had said, we are different than cable, so we are going to take that and not consider ourselves to be what is pd, so we don't have to negotiate. satellite didn't do that. why should aereo be able to come
up with different technology and say, we don't have to negotiate. we have said from the beginning, this isn't about technology. there is still a technology in aereo and maybe there is a business model for it that that doesn't mean you can even aid the law to run a business. >> more about the supreme court withion against aereo the head of the national association of broadcasters monday night at 8:00 eastern. our guestek on q&a, is daniel schulman.